Combating the Elements

Credit Ben FrantzDale – CC-BY-SA

Guest Post

From time to time I will be publishing posts from guest authors whose writings I think will interest people. Of course, all opinions and assertions in these posts belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily agree with mine. Please direct your praise and criticism to the author. — rjb

Today’s guest author is Laird Smith

Laird Smith

Just a quick mention about the GMO issue. The discussion is not likely to go away any time soon.

I came across an interesting web site which had a debate on GMO’s. During the debate I came to the understanding that the foundation of GMO’s argument is based on feeding the world and reducing pesticide and herbicide use. Who can argue with that? One hundred thirty countries have signed on to use GMO grown food. In the coming years we will know its impact, negative, positive or no change.

Combating the Elements

The coming spring is the time when tree fruit blossoms of soft fruits are most at risk from frost. On Wally’s farm, he planted the peaches on the highest part of the farm which was the ridge. He then planted pears on the west side of the ridge and cherries on the east side.

The term commonly known as “smudge pots” was frowned upon by Wally. He said the correct usage was “fire pots” because it was the heat from the fire which protected the fragile blossoms from the frosty air and not the smudgy smoke.

Wally would place the fire pots in all three soft fruit blocks. The pots were metal containers each capable of holding two gallons ( 8 litres ) of diesel fuel. If I remember right, the pots were about 30 feet apart and placed to the side of the tractor track for easy refilling.

Wally and Auntie Kay carefully listened to the evening radio frost report. If there was a chance of frost they slept little for they checked their thermometer regularly.

When the thermometer dipped below the safe point, Wally would take the blow torch out and light all the fire pots. That was quite a task I must say!

When the frost threat was over, the flame was extinguished by placing a wooden shingle over top of each pot snuffing it out. On occasion, the pots were lighted earlier in the evening than expected. It was those nights when the pots burned all the fuel and had to be replenished before the night was over.

In the morning as the sun rose, the Valley air was laced with diesel smoke from another gallant fight with the killing frost. The work wasn’t finished though, for the pots all needed to be refilled before the grower and his wife sought the comfort of their bed to get a few winks before joining the ranks of the day workers.

Laird Smith

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